I have found three definitions which could be defined as killer of animals or dealing with killing of animals, but I don't get the point of difference between them

slaughter - killing (animals) for food (noun)

butcher - a person who slaughters and cuts up animals for food

cutter - a person or thing that cuts something (I had been told that it could be defined as slaughter too)


What is the difference between these definitions in terms of occupation related to killing animals?

  • Are you asking for a verb or a noun? slaughter is only a verb; butcher can be a noun or a verb; cutter is only a noun.
    – stangdon
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 11:26
  • @stangdon duly noted. A noun
    – Max
    Commented May 23, 2017 at 14:20
  • I should correct my mistake - slaughter can be a noun too (although it means something very different from "one who slaughters")
    – stangdon
    Commented May 26, 2017 at 17:40
  • * "one who slaughts" ;)
    – N. Presley
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 14:26

1 Answer 1


To slaughter can be the process of killing animals for meat, as in a "slaughterhouse", or "led to the slaughter". It also is used to describe any large scale and often senseless killing of humans or animals, as in a particularly bloody battle.

After the slaughter at Wounded Knee, soldiers buried at least 200 deceased Lakota in a mass grave.

To butcher is somewhat synonymous with "to slaughter"; however while slaughter refers mostly to the killing, butcher refers to the cutting up of animal carcasses for sale and consumption.

Later in the year, the animals were efficiently butchered, and various parts hung in the smokehouse to cure.

As with "slaughter", "butcher" can refer to killing humans, often either with particular cruelty or where one side does most of the killing.

The guards butchered many hundreds of prisoners before the invading army could arrive to free them.

To cut is a generic term which means to use a blade of some kind to make an incision, or to divide something into parts ("to cut up"). It does not specifically refer to processing animals for meat, although it would be possible to say something like:

After cleaning the deer, the hunters cut up the meat into smaller portions so it would be easier to carry.

You can cut/cut up almost anything: fruit, clothing, wood, and of course humans:

The soldiers launched a surprise attack in the middle of the night and cut their enemy to shreds.

This use of "cut" is somewhat less violent than "slaughter" or "butcher".

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